As Grant Brisbee pointed out on Friday, MLB.com has ever-so-slowly opened up its video vault to its adoring fans. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth, well, you be the judge. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a history of the Oakland A’s.
Notable omissions: Vida Blue’s no-hitter (1971), the Billy Ball era (1980-82), Dave Kingman moon shots (1984), Jose Canseco’s fifth-deck homerun (1989 ALCS), Marco Scutaro's heroics (2006 ALDS), and Bob Geren sniffing his finger. Also, I was disappointed that typing "Rickey Henderson 1982" produced no results, and there is precious little footage of the 1972-74 playoffs and World Series.
But there is plenty to enjoy, and it’s still amazing to me how this little team on the wrong side of the Bay Bridge has produced so many electrifying – and historic – moments through the years. So many, in fact, that I had to break this thing out into segments. Come back tommorrow for 1990-2012.
Charlie Finley Purchases the A’s, 1960.
These first two video shorts salute the Kansas City Athletics, and the man who brought baseball to Oakland. Even as far back as the mid-1950’s the A’s were considered a branch in the New York Yankees' farm system, something that Finley aggressively tried to discourage, all the while introducing a colorful alternative to the humdrum uniforms of yesteryear.
Catfish is Perfect, 1968
While the video archives feature the last out of many perfect games – and in a few cases, all 27 outs – all we get here is a few still photos and audio of Monte Moore calling the action. Hunter not only kept the formidable Minnesota lineup from reaching base all night, he also collected three hits in four trips to the plate.
Reggie’s All-Star Blast, 1971
No words needed.
The ALCS Goes Mainstream, 1972
After three years of uneventful playoff series’, the A’s and Detroit Tigers provided high drama in a thrilling five-game set highlighted the bat-throwing talents of Campy Campaneris.
Joe Rudi’s Catch, 1972 World Series Game 2
The A’s were clinging to a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning at Cincinnati, and the Reds had Tony Perez at first base with no outs when Dennis Menke hit a long drive to left:
A’s Take Commanding Series Lead, 1972 Game 4
Oakland held on to win Game 2 (2-1) and take a 2-0 lead in the World Series as the scene shifted westward. Cincinnati won Game 3 by a 1-0 score and led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth of Game 4 looking to even the Series. The A’s had other plans:
Oakland Wins Third Straight World Series, 1974
I love how this video clip starts off with young Billy Buckner leading off the top of the eighth inning of the clinching Game 5 with a single. The ball squirts past centerfielder Billy North, but Reggie Jackson backs him up and fires a strike to a perfectly-positioned Dick Green, who spins and rifles one to Sal Bando, who applies the tag. The scoring threat died before it began, all thanks to the underrated side of those Swingin’ A’s.
Mike Warren’s No-Hitter, 1983
This is bittersweet footage because I still remember exactly where I was when this game started – at the public library. Meaning I wasn’t at the Coliseum. To fully understand the significance of that statement, you must know that I attended 66 of 81 home games in 1983. I also got an offer from my oldest sister who had free first-deck tickets that night. I declined. Later that evening, as I listened to the last inning, I actually prayed for the White Sox to get a hit. Apparently God likes Mike Warren. Well, he did that night anyway.
Jose Canseco: Mr. 40-40, 1988
There is shockingly little footage of Jose Canseco, and even less of him in an A’s uniform. And even less of him in an A’s uniform hitting a baseball. This video features him stealing a base – his 40th of season – to go with his 40 homeruns that for the moment put him in very exclusive company: his own.
The Sweep, 1989
I could watch this every day. Sigh.